Dawson's Creek is returning to Netflix at the start of next month, but there will be something a little different. Paula Cole's "I Don't Want to Wait," the original theme song, will not be featured over the opening credits. This is a longtime issue with the series dating back to the show's DVD releases and the first time it was made available to stream on Netflix back in 2012. When fans watch Dawson's Creek on Netflix starting on Nov. 1, "I Don't Want to Wait" will be replaced by Jann Arden's "Run Like Mad."
Dawson's Creek, which originally ran six seasons from 1998 to 2003 on The WB, almost had Alanis Morrissette's "Hand in My Pocket" as the title song. That was the track executive producers Kevin Williamson and Paul Stupin had in mind when they shot the pilot and when they showed the first episodes to network executives, Stupin told HuffPost in 2012. Unfortunately, the producers never got the rights to the song and WB executives told them it would be too expensive.
Dawson's Creek — one of television's most beloved coming-of-age stories — is coming to Netflix in The US on November 1
...and before you ask, the episodes won't have the original theme song (sorry) pic.twitter.com/f07QkbdFJY— Netflix (@netflix) October 19, 2020
The producers considered existing songs and originals from different artists, including Canadian singer Arden. After she watched some episodes of the show, she came up with "Run Like Mad," which Stupin decided was the perfect opening song. That was the plan until The WB ran a commercial for the show with "I Don't Want to Wait," and WB executives suggested that could be the theme song. They agreed, and "I Don't Want to Wait" became the title song for the U.S. broadcast of Dawson's Creek. Outside North America, "Run Like Mad" was used.
Now, this is the part of the story where messy rights issues get involved. When series producer Sony Pictures Television got the rights for "I Don't Want to Wait," it did not include home video releases or streaming. Sony did pony up the costs to include the song in the DVD releases for the first two seasons, but they put Arden's song in for the last four seasons. In order to include "I Don't Want to Wait," Sony executives would have to go back and agree to pay Cole a fee. Sony owns Arden's song, so they don't have to pay extra to continue using it.
In 2018, Cole told HuffPost she would be interested in letting Sony use the song for home video and streaming releases of Dawson's Creek. "Of course I would consider it! I’m right here! Come talk to me, Sony," Cole said. "Let’s negotiate! I’m an independent artist open for business! But I won’t give my music for free and I don’t think any artist should give their music for free unless it’s helping out another independent artist ― and then you renegotiate once the project is successful. I think giving one’s art for free to giant corporations hurts artists and musicians and society across the board."